What is the difference between an ophthalmologist, an optometrist and an optician?
- An Ophthalmologist (MD) has a medical degree and is licensed to practice medicine and perform eye surgery. An ophthalmologist has had at least 12 years of education and training beyond high school and is qualified to diagnose and treat all eye diseases; perform surgery; prescribe and fit glasses and contact lenses.
- An Optometrist (OD) has a degree in optometry and is licensed to practice optometry. An optometrist has had at least six years of education and training beyond high school and is qualified to determine the need for glasses and contact lenses; prescribe optical correction; and screen for some eye conditions.
- An Optician usually has a combination of college (or two years of opticianry school) and on-the-job training. An optician is trained to fit and dispense eyeglasses or contact lenses based upon a prescription from a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist.
When should my child's eyes be examined?
Most physicians test vision as part of a child’s medical examination. They may refer a child to an ophthalmologist (a medical eye doctor) if there is any sign of an eye condition. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend the first vision screening occur in the hospital as part of a newborn baby’s discharge examination. Visual function (including ocular alignment, etc.) also should be checked by the pediatrician or family physician during routine well-child exams (typically at two, four and six months of age). Later amblyopia and alignment screenings should take place at three years of age and then yearly after school age.
If you suspect your child suffers from decreased vision – amblyopia (poor vision in an otherwise normal appearing eye), refractive error (nearsightedness or farsightedness) or strabismus (misalignment of the eye in any direction) – or if there are hereditary factors that might predispose your child to eye disease, please make an appointment with an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. New techniques make it possible to test vision in infants and young children. If there is a family history of misaligned eyes, childhood cataracts or a serious eye disease, an ophthalmologist can begin checking your child’s vision at a very early age.
When should an adult's eyes be examined?
- Young adults (ages 20 – 39) should have their eyes examined every three-five years.
- Adults ages (ages 40 – 64) should have their eyes examined every two-four years.
- Seniors (over 65 years of age) should have their eyes examined every one-two years.
- People with diabetes
- People with glaucoma or strong family history of glaucoma
- People with AIDS/HIV
What is visual acuity?
Acuity is the measure of the eye’s ability to distinguish the smallest identifiable letter or symbol, its details and shape, usually at a distance of 20 feet. This measurement is usually given in a fraction. The top number refers to the testing distance measured in feet and the bottom number is the distance from which a normal eye should see the letter or shape. So, perfect vision is 20/20. If your vision is 20/60, that means what you can see at a distance of 20 feet, someone with perfect vision can see at a distance of 60 feet.
What is legal blindness?
You are legally blind when the best corrected central acuity is less than 20/200 (perfect visual acuity is 20/20) in your better eye, or your side vision is narrowed to 20 degrees or less in your better eye. Even if you are legally blind, you may still have some useful vision. If you are legally blind, you may qualify for certain government benefits.
What is visual impairment?
If neither of your eyes can see better than 20/60 without improvement from glasses or contacts, you may be defined as visually impaired. In addition, poor night vision, limited side vision, double vision and loss of vision in one eye may also determine visual impairment.
What is low vision?
Low vision is a term describing a level of vision below normal (20/70 or worse) that cannot be corrected with conventional glasses. Low vision is not the same as blindness. People with low vision can use their sight. However, low vision may interfere with the performance of daily activities, such as reading or driving.
Can eyes be transplanted?
No. Currently, there is no way to transplant a whole eye. However, corneas have been successfully transplanted for many years.
Computers, TVs, Lighting and Glasses
Will working at a computer screen hurt my eyes?
No, there is no evidence that working at a computer damages the eyes. However, long hours of work can be fatiguing to the eyes, neck and back. Monitor glare from various light sources can also be a problem. It is often helpful to take periodic breaks, looking off in the distance and adjusting your work station (angle of the monitor, height of the chair, changing the lighting, etc.).
Will sitting too close to the television set hurt my child's eyes?
No, there is no scientific evidence that TV sets emit rays that are harmful to the eyes.
Why have I gradually found it harder to read without glasses?
The ability to focus on near objects decreases steadily with age and is referred to as presbyopia. Presbyopia is a natural aging of the lens. It is usually near the age of 40, when glasses or bifocals are prescribed to correct this condition.
Are sunglasses good for my eyes?
There is a benefit to wearing UV protective lenses–wearing them may protect against cataract formation. Clear lenses with UV protection may offer greater protection than dark lenses because they allow the eyes to be exposed to more light. This causes greater constriction of the pupil which lets less light enter the eyes.
Is my child likely to inherit my need for glasses?
Possibly. If both the biological parents wear glasses, your children are likely to need them as well.
Will reading in dim light hurt my eyes?
No, but most people are more comfortable reading with proper lighting which is bright enough to provide good illumination but not so bright as to cause glare.
How often do I need to get my prescription changed?
There is no predetermined schedule for changing glasses or contacts. It is necessary to change your prescription only when it no longer provide adequate correction. However, it is still a good idea to have regular eye examinations.
What materials are available for glasses?
Some of the newest materials for frames include titanium (virtually indestructible) and polycarbonate materials (recommended for high impact sports). Lenses are also made from polycarbonate materials, other types of light weight plastics and glass. Coatings include UV protection (recommended for all types of lenses), scratch-resistant protection, polarization, anti-glare and others.
Can my child wear contact lenses during sports activities?
Yes, contact lenses provide excellent vision for most sports. However, they do not protect the eyes from injury. Therefore, contact lens wearers should use polycarbonate sports safety goggles or glasses when participating in sports
Do contact lenses prevent nearsightedness (myopia) from getting worse?
No, there is no evidence that wearing contact lenses improves vision or prevents myopia from getting worse. Also see information about contact lenses.
Can I use my eyeglass prescription to buy over-the-counter contact lenses?
No, because it does not provide the specifications for lens diameter, thickness and base curve. A new prescription must be carefully fitted by an eye care specialist to avoid serious adverse reactions.
Is it safe for me to clean my contact lenses with a homemade solution?
Using commercial saline solutions is the safest method of cleaning lenses. Some studies have shown that homemade solutions may lead to corneal infections.
Can we wear contact lenses during swimming?
Contact lenses during swimming should not be worn.
Accidents resulting in eye injuries can happen to anyone. Over half (55%) of the victims of eye injuries are under 25. Many of these injuries, over 100,000 annually, occur during sports or recreational activities. Most important of all, 90% of all eye injuries could have been prevented.
When an injury does occur, it is always best to have an ophthalmologist (eye physician and surgeon), examine the eye as soon as possible. The seriousness of the injury may not be immediately obvious.
People with good vision in only one eye should wear safety glasses to protect the good eye, even if they do not need glasses otherwise. Safety glasses should have lenses made of polycarbonate (an especially strong, shatterproof, lightweight plastic) and be 3mm thick. A plastic or polycarbonate frame will reduce the risk of injury from the frames themselves.
Adults can set a good example for children by always wearing protective eyewear while using power tools, rotary mowers, line lawn trimmers, or hammering on metal.
- Select games and toys appropriate for the child’s age and responsibility level.
- Do not allow children to ignite fireworks or stand near others who are doing so. All fireworks are potentially dangerous for children of any age.
- Do not allow children in the yard while a lawnmower is being operated. Stones thrown from the moving blades can cause severe eye injury.
- Keep all chemicals and sprays out of reach of small children.
- Be aware that even common household items, such as paper clips, rubber bands, wire coat hangers, elastic cords and fishing hooks can cause serious eye injury.
Students should wear protective goggles when participating in shop or some science labs.
- Parents and coaches need to provide eyewear and enforce its use.
- Protective devices should be combined with appropriate rules, coaching, conditioning, and officiating to prevent injury.
- Children requiring corrective lenses should wear polycarbonate lenses with frames designed for greater impact resistance. Note: Contact lenses are not a form of protective eyewear and contact lens wearers require additional protection when participating in sports.
- Parents of a child with permanently reduced vision in one eye should carefully consider the risks of contact sports and injury to the good eye before allowing the child to participate. Participation in boxing, however, should not be allowed because there is no means of providing adequate protection for the good eye.
A helmet with polycarbonate face shield should be used while batting
Use sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses and side shields which pass the ASTM or Canadian Standards Association (CSA) racket-sport standard. Spectacle correction may be incorporated into the goggles.
Boxing poses an extremely high risk of serious even blinding injury. No adequate eye protection is available although thumbless gloves may reduce the number of eye injuries.
Always use a helmet with polycarbonate face mask or wire shield certified by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC) or the CSA.
Protective glasses or goggles that filter U.V. and excessive sunlight exposure can be useful in shielding the eyes from sunburn.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a cloudiness of the lens in your eye that prevents light from passing to the retina, which can impair your vision. Cataracts form naturally as you age and sometimes remain small and unnoticeable. But with more developed cataracts, it’s like constantly viewing the world through a foggy window
What are cataract symptoms?
An annual visit to your eye doctor can help identify cataracts early on, but there are symptoms you can look out for, including.
- Cloudy vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Halos around lights
- Frequent changes in glasses or contacts prescriptions
- Double vision in one eye
- Light sensitivity
- Seeing faded colors
How do I know if I need surgery?
You should begin by consulting your eye doctor. He or she will review your medical history and perform tests to determine if you need corrective surgery. Then you can begin to discuss which specific surgery option is best for you.
How do I know if I have glaucoma?
The only way for you to know is to be examined by a doctor. Glaucoma has no symptoms until there is damage to your optic nerve. But there are many routine tests that can identify risk factors and/or presence of glaucoma.
Does having high eye pressure mean I will lose vision?
Not necessarily. But it does indicate that you may be at risk for glaucoma, which may lead your doctor to recommend an appropriate treatment to lower IOP.
Can you have cataracts and glaucoma at the same time?
Yes, you can, simply because both often result as a natural part of aging. But they are not related to one another. And though most people with glaucoma are not at any greater risk to develop cataracts as those without it,13 there are some exceptions. Ask your doctor if you are concerned
Do treatments for patients with glaucoma work differently?
Yes. While the aim of any treatment is to reduce elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), how this is achieved can vary patient to patient based on his or her disease severity, tolerance to side effects, past history with IOP-lowering medications, additional health conditions, or other factors.
Can glaucoma be treated?
Yes. Immediate treatment for early stage, open-angle glaucoma can delay progression of the disease. That’s why early diagnosis is very important.
Glaucoma treatments include medication, laser trabeculoplasty, conventional surgery, or a combination of any of these. While these treatments may save remaining vision, they do not improve sight already lost from glaucoma.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry Eye is a condition caused by changes in the quantity or quality of your tears. Tears are composed of three main layers that work together to keep your eyes comfortable and protected. If anything affects the balance of these elements, your tears may evaporate too quickly, causing your eyes to feel dry and irritated.
Do I need to see an eye doctor if I lost vision, but it returned to normal within a few minutes?
Yes, definitely you should be examined by an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. Temporary loss of vision that persists for at least several minutes can be a sign of interruption of blood flow to the eye. Temporary visual loss can be followed by visual loss that is permanent. By analogy, a few minutes of chest pain can be a sign of an impending heart attack, and the importance of contacting your doctor in this situation seems obvious. The same concern should be given to visual loss that persists for several minutes or longer, even if visual loss is confined to one eye. Not all causes of temporary visual loss are serious. In fact, migraine is the leading cause of temporary visual loss (even when not accompanied by headache) and vision almost always returns to normal with migraine.
Can I strengthen my eyes by doing exercises, like repetitively looking at close objects?
No. Exercising muscles of the eye improve neither their ability to focus nor to move from side to side. This might seem counterintuitive since all other muscles of the body can be made to improve their performance by exercise, but the muscles of the eye are different in this regard. The difference might partly result from the fact that the brain provides very precise control for eye position and exercising the muscles does not influence the signals coming from the eye to the brain.
Are my headaches being caused by my eyes?
Headaches are only rarely caused by eye problems, even if the pain feels like it is coming from or behind the eye. One explanation for this perhaps surprising statement is that the eye socket is often the site of “referred pain”, that is, a sense of discomfort in one part of the body because of a problem that is truly elsewhere. This is similar to the occurrence of left arm pain in patients who experience a heart attack. The need for glasses is not commonly an explanation for headache, although you might feel “eye strain” or tire more easily if a better prescription for glasses is needed. Headache should be distinguished from true eye pain, which is usually localized to the surface of the eye, and is most commonly caused by dry eyes.
What qualifications should I look for in a laser eye surgeon?
Laser eye surgery treats the cornea, the clear outer surface of the eye. So at Wilmer, we think a laser surgeon should be a corneal specialist, an expert who routinely performs corneal transplants, treats corneal abrasions and infections, performs corneal healing research, teaches other doctors about the cornea, and handles challenging cornea cases. A laser surgeon who is a corneal specialist will:
- See laser eye surgery as one of several ways to improve your vision– not the only way
- Detect subtle corneal conditions that may require caution when considering laser eye surgery.
- Know how the cornea ages and recommend laser eye surgery with your long-term vision health in mind.
- Manage your progress after surgery for best results while continuing to provide data.
What precautions should be taken when we have eye injury ?
Eye Injuries Accidents resulting in eye injuries can happen to anyone. Over half (55%) of the victims of eye injuries are under 25. Many of these injuries, over 100,000 annually, occur during sports or recreational activities. Most important of all, 90% of all eye injuries could have been prevented.When an injury does occur, it is always best to have an ophthalmologist (eye physician and surgeon), examine the eye as soon as possible. The seriousness of the injury may not be immediately obvious.Preventing Eye Injuries People with good vision in only one eye should wear safety glasses to protect the good eye, even if they do not need glasses otherwise. Safety glasses should have lenses made of polycarbonate (an especially strong, shatterproof, lightweight plastic) and be 3mm thick. A plastic or polycarbonate frame will reduce the risk of injury from the frames themselves.Adults can set a good example for children by always wearing protective eyewear while using power tools, rotary mowers, line lawn trimmers, or hammering on metal.
What is Do’s and Don’ts for Holi ?
Holi is a festival of joy and colours and it is celebrated in the entire country. It is customary that during Holi, we use different kinds of colours. These may be liquids of different colours, dry or in the form of paste.